Archive for July 2, 2009

Championship Physiology/Strength-to-Weight

Posted in Championship Physiology on July 2, 2009 by bethleasure

The Backpack

10“Imagine possessing one of the world’s most impressive cardiovascular engines, competing with that engine for 10 years and then losing 17 pounds of extraneous bodyweight. It’s like racing at a world class level with a backpack on and then one day taking the backpack off forever.”  Mark Sisson, Founding Member, International Triathlon Union’s Anti-Doping Commission, on Lance Armstrong’s champion physiology


Yeah well, got your mind off Armstrong didn't it?

Well, got your mind off Armstrong didn't it?

Lance’s backpack came off with the help of cancer but with the sustained incentive of Tour de France victories. In a seven-year period, he reduced body weight and body fat by approximately 7% and saw an improvement in muscular efficiency to 11“contribute equally to a remarkable 18% improvement in steady state power per kg body weight when cycling at a given VO2.”

VO2max values are influenced by changes in bodyweight. Less pounds with same power makes one faster. Finding that optimal weight while retaining and improving power output is a goal of championship training.

When competing in Europe, I noticed the leanness of my peers and even the public. Eating lean as a lifestyle provides a competitive advantage, not to mention the health benefits. There is a risk in the 12female athlete triad for overemphasis on body weight issues, and responsible supporters need to stress food-IN for energy-OUT versus diet or weight loss. Yet most people and most elite athletes can find more leanness and more watts. There is a super fit range of power at LT where one’s “fighting weight” feels perfect. It requires strict adherence to the data to maintain the right ratio. A champion seeks expert help.

Everybody carries a backpack of responsibilities, and sometimes that burden gets heavy! Sometimes we are to help each other with those burdens, and sometimes our own burdens are enough for us. Champions lighten their own loads and are able to lighten the loads of others by seeking accountability and advisement for this winning fraction.


Prayer for Strength to Weight Ratio
“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” 13Galatians 6:4-5


Wow these numbers are amazingly rigid for each optimal zone. We need assistance with the discipline and duties to possess it.


Ponder Are my weight, food choices, watts, and energies aligned? Affirm I am a champion when these figures are optimal and in balance. Watch for other stressors that affect these tangibles.



10“Why Lance is Clean by Brad Kearns,” Mark Sisson is quoted by Brad Kearns cited on Tom Hodge’s blog, November 22, 2006.

[I wish to note that clean cycling and not testing positive are two different standards.]

11Same blog and source now quoting “an excerpt from a seven-year study on Lance conducted by the University of Texas (Austin) Human Performance Laboratory’s Dr. Edward Coyle “Improved Muscular Efficiency Displayed as Tour de France Champion Matures,” printed in Journal of Applied Physiology, June 2005”

12“Health & Performance Issues for Female Cyclists,” presented by Lynda Ransdell, Ph.D., FACSM of Boise State University at Enhancing Women’s Leadership in Cycling Conferences, January 2008, Colorado Springs, CO. Female Athlete Triad term officially adopted in 1992 with position statement by ACSM first published in 1997.

13The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson